French 153D Midterm Study Guide
Identifications: text, author, context of passage, speaker, brief analysis of passage, relevance
What is the Fantastic?
-“the hesitation felt by someone who knows only the natural laws faced with an apparently
supernatural event” –Todorov
-“when recounting something supernatural, one can never supply too many details of material
-importance of narrator as character, does he/she believe in supernatural? Narrator & his/her
beliefs replace reader’s beliefs; narrator often tries to give natural explanations for supernatural
-author uses modalization
to create hesitation & uncertainty for reader, not sure if we can trust the
to him,” “I
I saw,” etc.
, Ernst Hoffman (1817)
2 beginnings: jarring, ironic, confusing, element of hesitation
do we believe
nathaniel or clara?
Clara is more rational & mature, but also described as childlike, almost too
rational, becomes annoying
Elements of Fantastic:
Olympia, he thinks she is a real person, seems fantastic,
like doll is coming to life, until he realizes she is an automaton
Sandman/Coppelius/Coppola: are they all the same person? Nathanial thinks
they are all connected, he is afraid of coppola as he feared
Uncanny themes: mechanical doll, fear of losing eyes & sandman, doubling
& coppola & sandman), optical instruments, alchemy (his father,
Coppelius, and Olympia)
Freud focused on nathanial’s fear of losing his eyes, ignores uncanny of
Olympia, doll coming to life
wish fulfillment, also doubling, strange
becoming familiar and vise versa, familiar is repressed (fear of
Sandman/Coppola) and when it returns it is unfamiliar and frightening
Nathaniel’s perception of reality: use of modalization; narrative complexity
narrator seems to mock Nathanial, keeps ironic distance; 2 voices: reason vs.